There are two common things all of us usually search for in food. One of those two things is taste, and the second, which gets highly suppressed by the first, is nutrition. That is the reason behind the junk food industry’s high profitability! One other reason which people normally overlooks or misses out while debating the up rise of junk food in the society is the element of quick service. This factor is so important that certain types of dishes only sell because it consumes very little time to prepare and serve. No matter how much we say we are concerned about our health and that we will switch to healthier eating habits, nothing changes. The question remains, why?
Let me tell you that it is because junk food or fast food delivers two of the most crucial things in the eyes of today’s mankind: taste and time. Time, as we all know, is a currency in its own and the one which can’t be earned; so we try to spend it wisely and save as much as we can. Taste, on the other hand, symbolizes self-attending. Both these factors are contributed by junk food and hence they govern the populations’ expenditure on food. Learning about this behavior, a couple of companies [in our case Multinational Companies] began to see an untapped market. But what was this market, after all?
It was a market, or rather a range of edible products, that serves both the elements of taste and time like the usual, but with a dash of [perceived] health too. And finally, the mouthwatering idea behind this market was that it would be mass produced. Thus, as the result of this school of thought the world came to witness something that we know today by the name of “Processed Food” industry.
All these MNCs followed the concept of slow and steady attacks and won the race. About twenty-five years back, Nestle came out with Maggi, a dish no Indian would’ve preferred for any meal, and now is a culture. Fifteen years back Kellogg came out with Cornflakes, a dish which again no Indian would’ve even considered for their breakfast, and now is sitting in almost every household’s breakfast table. These two are the biggest examples of what some might call game-changers in trend, but what was truly an invasion. Yes, an invasion!
Through sheer marketing tactics and deep penetrating strategies, these companies generated a huge demand for a range of food products which would’ve never occurred to as usual “go-to” choices of food for an average Indian. The Indian household had a culinary scenario painted with dishes like Parantha, Idli, Samosa, Upma, and so on. The forthcoming of MNC induced products replaced these Indian delicacies for good and changed the entire pattern of consumer behavior when it came to convenient, or readymade, food. Something similar to this phenomenon took place in the quick service restaurant industry as well with the birth of Dominos, McDonald’s, and so on. And above all, big corporate retail giants, like Walmart and others, have been a huge influence regarding the purchasing patterns of household grocery and snacks too. In this manner, not only they have been making us to hold their arms and welcome them into the permanent stocking of our kitchens but also they’ve been keeping us away from our heritage dishes and delicacies. Somehow, we have become victims to the popular but very wrong belief that westernization is the mark of progress and betterment.
But wait! If you see closely, you’ll see a light! A light that is glimmering at you from far behind the crowded shelves of these processed foods in the stores. The light is coming from local companies who have managed to bring out their own range of processed food. And their point of difference from those MNCs is that they’re serving Indian dishes; dishes such as Uttapam, Biriyani, and so on. Indian dishes, their value, and hence our deep-rooted wisdom and culture are far from disappearing. Most definitely they did fade for a while, but they are to return even stronger this time!
“Food is Love, Love is Good, And Indian Food is Always Good!”